New equipment developed by neuroscientists in America is being introduced in dental surgeries in the UK to help calm patients who suffer anxiety during treatments.
The new equipment, named NuCalm, induces a state of deep relaxation using systems know as Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES). A generator is connected to a headset worn by the patient and transmits relaxing electrical and sound frequencies to the brain.
After five minutes brain waves slow down to a state which is associated with meditation, sleep and deep relaxation.
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter said of the new technology: “This is a great step forward. A recent survey we conducted for National Smile Month found that one in four people do not visit the dentist because of a phobia. If people know they will be ok when they’re in the chair, that they won’t be overcome by anxiety, it could be enough to encourage more people to go on a regular basis.”
Dr Carter added: “It is vital people go for regular dental check–ups. Dentists are at the forefront of oral health–care and are the best source for discovering serious problems such as mouth cancer and gum disease.
“Mouth cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the UK, with 5,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. If this illness is caught in the early stages it massively improves chances of survival. That’s why this development is so important. We need to get people into the dentist chair on a regular basis, and anything that does that can only be beneficial to oral health–care.”
During the treatment patients are asked to wear dark glasses and are given tablets of a brain chemical called GABA. The tablets, which are commonly available as a nutritional supplement, combined with the glasses help to deepen the sense of relaxation the patient experiences.
Trials have found that CES can be effective for people suffering with stress, chronic anxiety, insomnia and post–traumatic stress. CES encourages the release of brain chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, both of which are related to feelings of well–being and relaxation.
The National Dental Helpline (0845 063 1188) is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and is a confidential advice service. Fully trained dental nurses and oral health educators are on hand to answer any queries patients may have about upcoming treatments or even just to talk through relaxation techniques for those who suffer from dental phobias.
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For further information please contact the Foundation’s press office on 01788 539 792 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
The research was published in the Academy of General Dentistry journal.
The British Dental Health Foundation is the UK’s leading oral health charity, with a 30–year track record of providing public information and influencing government policy. It maintains a free consumer advice service, an impartial and objective product accreditation scheme, publishes and distributes a wide range of literature for the profession and consumers, and runs National Smile Month each May, to promote greater awareness of the benefits of better oral health.
The Dental Helpline, which offers free impartial advice to consumers, can be contacted on 0845 063 1188 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Alternatively, they can be contacted by email on email@example.com
A series of free ‘Tell Me About…’ leaflets covering topics such as ‘My fear of the dentist’, ‘Visiting the Hygienist’ and ‘Preventative Care and Oral Hygiene’ are also available.
The Foundation’s shop can be accessed at www.dentalhealth.org.uk/shop/browse.php
For educational resources or campaign products contact our sales team on 01788 539 793.
The Foundation’s website can be found at www.dentalhealth.org
You can find more information on mouth cancer at the website www.mouthcancer.org
Mouth cancer claims the lives of 2,000 every year, making it the UK’s fastest growing cancer.
In the UK around 5,000 are diagnosed with mouth cancer each year.
Mouth cancer has previously been found to be more common in men and those over the age of 40, though an increasing number of women and young people are developing the condition.
The charity strongly advises people of all ages to check their mouths and have regular dentist appointments.
People who smoke and drink have been found to be at a higher risk, and are up to 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer.
Initial signs of the disease include a non–healing mouth ulcer, a red or white patch in the mouth, or unusual lumps or swelling in the mouth.
Poor diet is linked to a third of all cancer cases. Evidence shows an increase in fruit and vegetables lowers the risk, as does fish and eggs.